Kindness to parents is a great human right; there is no more serious and dignified right like that. If you neglect to give this right, you must be condemned and humiliated in this world and in the hereafter.

Kindness to parents is one of the gates of Paradise. This law has been given to favor the parents, be a good companion for them in this world, spend for them, and spread the wings of humility towards them. In this world, parents are like the sun and moon for children. Through them the child gets light on the way, removes loneliness, and feels comforted. They are like Yusuf (AS)’s dream. Yusuf (AS). told his father about his dream-

{یَـٰۤأَبَتِ إِنِّی رَأَیۡتُ أَحَدَ عَشَرَ كَوۡكَبࣰا وَٱلشَّمۡسَ وَٱلۡقَمَرَ رَأَیۡتُهُمۡ لِی سَـٰجِدِینَ}

O father, I saw eleven stars, the sun and the moon; saw them all fallen prostrate before me. – Surah Yusuf: verse 4

Father is like the sun. He earns by working hard for the children during the day. Mother is like the moon, she wakes up at night out of love and kindness for children.

Parents cry for their children’s laughter. They are anxious to please their children. They face hardships for the good fortune of the child. They remain hungry to feed their children. They become thirsty to give the child a drink. They melt themselves like a candle and illuminate the child. This is mother’s mind. Allah says:

{وَ اَصْبَحَ فُؤَادُ اُمِّ مُوْسٰی فٰرِغًا}.

Musa’s mother’s heart was worried. – Surah al-Qasas (28): 10

This is the father’s eyes. Allah says:

{وَابْیَضَّتْ عَیْنٰهُ مِنَ الْحُزْنِ فَهُوَ كَظِیْمٌ}.

His eyes turned white with sadness. He was suppressing his (anger and grief). – Surah Yusuf (12): 84

This is intense feeling and exciting emotions of parents; a mother’s heart becomes restless for the child and a father’s eyes become white with grief-

فَلَا تَقُلْ لَّهُمَاۤ  اُفٍّ وَّلَا تَنْهَرْهُمَا وَقُلْ لَّهُمَا قَوْلًا کَرِیْمًا  وَ اخْفِضْ لَهُمَا جَنَاحَ الذُّلِّ مِنَ الرَّحْمَۃِ  وَقُلْ رَّبِّ ارْحَمْهُمَا کَمَا رَبَّیٰنِیْ صَغِیْرًا

But do not say to them ‘Uff’ (a word of contempt and anger) and do not rebuke them; Instead, talk to them respectfully. And humble yourself before them with compassionate behavior towards them and supplicate, ‘O my Lord! Be merciful to them, as they have brought me up in my childhood.’ – Surah Bani Israel (50): 23-24

How fortunate is the child, whose parents or he left the world when his parents are pleased. How lucky, how pure his life is! When Iyas ibn Mu’awiya’s mother passed away, he busted into tears. When someone asked the reason, he said, two doors of Paradise were open for me. Through the death of the mother, a door was closed. –Tahzibul Kamal 3/436

How unfortunate is the child, whose parents or he left the world when his parents are in displeasure. How misguided, how damaged he is! He is far away from the mercy of Allah! Allah orders human being to be kind to parents when he orders them to worship him. He says-

وَاعبُدُوا اللهَ وَلَا تُشْرِكُوْا بِهٖ شَیْئًا وَّ بِالْوَالِدَیْنِ اِحْسَانًا

And worship Allah and associate none with Him. Be kind to your parents. – Surah Nisa (4): 36

Allah tells to express gratitude to them when he tells to be grateful to Him. He says-

اَنِ اشْكُرْلِیْ وَ لِوَالِدَیْكَ اِلَیَّ الْمَصِیْرُ

Give thanks to me and your parents. To Me (you) must return. – Surah Luqman (31): 14

Rather, Allah Ta’ala has made good deeds towards parents one of the reasons for acceptance of deeds and forgiveness of sins. Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’an:

وَ وَصَّیْنَا  الْاِنْسَانَ بِوَالِدَیْهِ  اِحْسٰنًا  حَمَلَتْهُ  اُمُّهٗ كُرْهًا وَّ وَضَعَتْهُ كُرْهًا  وَ حَمْلُهٗ  وَ فِصٰلُهٗ   ثَلٰثُوْنَ شَهْرًا حَتّٰی اِذَا بَلَغَ  اَشُدَّهٗ  وَ بَلَغَ  اَرْبَعِیْنَ سَنَۃً  قَالَ  رَبِّ اَوْزِعْنِیْۤ  اَنْ  اَشْكُرَ نِعْمَتَکَ الَّتِیْۤ  اَنْعَمْتَ عَلَیَّ  وَ عَلٰی وَالِدَیَّ  وَ اَنْ  اَعْمَلَ صَالِحًا تَرْضٰهُ وَ اَصْلِحْ  لِیْ  فِیْ ذُرِّیَّتی اِنِّیْ  تُبْتُ  اِلَیْکَ وَ اِنِّیْ مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِیْنَ   اُولٰٓئِکَ الَّذِیْنَ نَتَقَبَّلُ عَنْهُمْ  اَحْسَنَ مَا عَمِلُوْا وَ نَتَجَاوَزُ عَنْ سَیِّاٰتِهِمْ فِیْۤ اَصْحٰبِ الْجَنَّۃِ  وَعْدَ الصِّدْقِ الَّذِیْ کَانُوْا یُوْعَدُوْنَ .

I have commanded man to be kind to his parents. His mother conceived him with great difficulty and gave birth to him with great difficulty. His carrying and his weaning is (in) thirty months. Finally when he reached his full capacity and reached the age of forty, he said, O my Lord! Grant me tawfiq, that I may be grateful for the favors You have bestowed on me and my parents and do good deeds that please You, and grant (the same) merit to my children for me. I repent to you and I am among those who express allegiance. These are they, whose good deeds I will accept and whose evil deeds I will forgive. (Consequently) they will be among the people of Paradise, by virtue of the truth promised to them. – Surah Ahqaf (46): 15-16

Omar r.a. said to Uais al-Qarni, I heard the Messenger of Allah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam saying, Uais ibn `Amir will come to you… he loves his mother. If he swears in the name of Allah, Allah will fulfill it. If you can make him ask for forgiveness for you from Allah, do it. So ask for forgiveness from Allah for me. Uais r.a. asked for forgiveness for Umar r.a.. –Sahih Muslim, Hadith 2542

Virtue towards parents is a fortified fortress

If kindness towards parents keeps a place inside your heart, it becomes a fortified fortress. It protects you from pride, harshness, disobedience and evil deeds. Goodness towards parents is a powerful virtue, which safeguards against all bad and inferior natures. He who is good to his parents cannot have a bad character. Again, he who is with a bad character is not seen to be virtuous towards parents. Caliph Umar Ibn al-Aziz said to Ibn Mihran, ‘Do not accompany the one who disobeys parents. He will not accept you, because he has already disobeyed his parents.’

Allah has made a difference between pride and good behavior towards parents.

Allah said about Yahya (AS).

وَّ بَرا بِوَالِدَیْهِ وَلَمْ يَكُنْ جَبَّارًا عَصِیًا

He (Yahya AS) is good to his parents. He was not arrogant and disobedient. – Surah Maryam (19): 14

He said about Isa AS.

وَّ بَرًا بِوَالِدَتِیْ۫ وَلَمْ يَجْعَلْنِیْ جَبَّارًا شَقِیًا

And He made me loyal to my mother. He did not make me arrogant and harsh.-Surah Maryam (19): 32

No one will love you like parents. They take life from their own life and give it to you. Yes, they cannot give you everything you want. But they have given you everything they have.

Virtue never grows old

Righteousness towards parents is the responsibility of the child, as long as the parents are alive. Virtue never grows old. It should not be old. Rather, its beauty increases with the passage of days and years. Kindness to parents should always be fresh and lively. Even when parents grow old, virtue does not grow old.

It is not good for children that they consider the parents as their extra burden. They will divide them among themselves to run away from responsibility, and avoid people’s criticism. In fact, good behavior towards parents is din and dain; that is religion and debt. It is a religious and non-worldly competition. A virtuous child always likes it. It will lead him to one of the gates of Paradise. It is also the worldly debt, that is, the favor of the parents, which remains unpaid in his charge. He should repay it. No matter how many attempts are made to repay this debt, it cannot be repaid.

Abdullah Ibn Umar RA. saw a man from Yemen carrying his mother on his shoulders. He was doing Tawaf and saying-

إِنِّي لَهَا بَعِيرُهَا الْمُذَلَّلْإِنْ أُذْعِرَتْ رِكَابُهَا لَمْ أُذْعَرْحَمَلْتُهَا أَكْثَرَ مِمَّا حَمَلَتْنیفَهَلْ تُرَى جَازَيْتُهَا يَا ابْنَ عُمَرْ

I am a loyal camel carrying my mother.

If her camel is frightened, I am not frightened.

I carried her longer than she carried me.

O Ibn Umar, what do you think, did I repay her?

Ibn Umar (RA) said, No, you could not repay for even a single sigh she breathed at birth. –Al-Adabul al-Mufrad, Hadith 11

I do what mother wants as much as I can

Our forefathers set a unique example of good behavior towards parents. They despised their own virtue before the grace of their parents. There were thousands of date trees in Madina. Usama ibn Zayd r.a. cut the marrow of a certain date tree. When someone asked the reason for this, he said, “My mother asked me for it. I do what mother wants as much as I can.” – Makarimul Akhlaq, page 55

Abu Huraira r.a. while leaving the house, used to stand at the door of his mother and said, May peace and mercy of Allah be upon you, Oh mother!

Mother used to answer, peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you too.

He used to say, May Allah have mercy on you as you have mercy on me and brought me up as a child.

Mother used to reply, May Allah have mercy on you as you are good to me in my old age. -Al-Adab al-Mufrad, Hadith 12

Sa`ed Ibn Sufyan al-thawri r.a. said, I never misbehaved with my father. If he calls me while I am in Nafl prayer, I leave the prayer. – Makarimul Akhlaq, Ibn Abid Dunya, page 64

When the son of Umar Ibn Zarr died, someone asked him, how virtuous was he? He said, “When he walked with me, he used to stay behind during the day, and stay in front during the night. He would never go up to the roof when I was down. –Al-bir wa as-silah, Ibn al-Jawzi 1/89

These examples have been set by our predecessors. However, today there are some people who have set worse and inferior examples of disobedience to parents. They leave their parents in hospitals and nursing homes. They prefer friends and spouses over them. What can we say if you consider parents as a burden for you? Sometimes the courts and the police make noises about the painful negligence towards parents. May Allah protect everyone from it.

Do the disobedient children know, through this disobedience, they are committing a great sin? The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

Will I not tell you about the greatest of the sins? He said this three times.

Companions said, surely O Messenger of Allah!

He said, associating partners with Allah, disobeying parents, he was reclining, sat down and said, Beware! Another is lying. –Sahih al-Bukhari, Hadith 2654; Sahih Muslim, Hadith 87

Disobedience of parents cannot be washed away with sea water

Mother is always mother. Father is always father. Their rights cannot be neglected because of their old age. Disobedience of parents cannot be washed away even with sea water. The expiation of disobedience to parents after repentance is only one, that is, goodness to them.

O disobedient children! Do sincere tawbah very quickly. Do true righteousness before the time runs out through the death of parents. They will not see your tears after death. If you kiss or hug their dead bodies they will not feel it. All these are worthless if they do not see them in their lifetime. By Allah! If you do not go to Paradise through service of your parents, it is a great misfortune for you.

A man came to Abdullah ibn Abbas r.a. and said, I have killed a man. Do I have a chance to repent?

He asked, is your mother alive?

The man answered, no.

He said, Do istighfar a lot.

When the man left, Ata ibn Yasar r.a. asked Ibn Abbas, why did you ask him about his mother? Ibn Abbas r.a. said, “I do not know that there is any deed dearer to Allah than goodness to a mother.” –Al-Adab al-Mufrad, Hadith 4

Every fruit has seeds

O servants of Allah, fear Allah. Know that every fruit has seeds. Every seed needs water. The same is true for goodness to parents. It has seeds. These seeds also require water. What parents should do is to nurture their children well, make them virtuous. Fruits are harvested on the day of harvest. After cutting the fruit, it is clear whether the fruit is sweet or bitter. He who sows and cultivates well reaps well. The land that is good produces its crops well at the command of its Lord, and that which is inferior produces little.

Parents should remember that good behavior towards parents is the result of good nurturing such as kindness, compassion, justice and spending money for children. So fear Allah, maintain equality among children so that they may always be good to their parents.

O children! Fear Allah. Don’t take ‘uff’ lightly. The word is two letters and although easy to say, the use of the word is an obvious crime. Remember, those who don’t care about their parents’ reactions are definitely disobedient.

O husband and wife, fear Allah. Help each other in good behavior towards parents. Bad are the wives of those boys, bad are the husbands of those girls, who do not cooperate with each other in maintaining good relations with their parents.

Abridged translation: Enam Hasan Juanid